The governor and the Illinois School Board of Education have released their proposals for the 2014 education budget, and they are not on the same page. While the governor wants another reduction, the board wants schools to be fully funded to recommended levels for the first time in three years.
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“We also have in Illinois a constitutional provision for funding K-12 education which we don’t feel is being met,” said Chris Koch, state superintendent of education. “And we’ve been very vocal about that this year more than ever, in part because we are hearing so much about the constitutional protections of pensions. And we wanted to bring to mind, well Article X also talks about how we’re supposed to be adequately funding K-12 education.”
Koch said changes should be made to the formula used to fund education because it relies heavily on property taxes and has complexities that can be hard to understand. Koch also said if something isn’t done, there will be school closings across the state.
“We’ve had two districts that have come to us and said we can’t make payroll by the end of the school year. We have districts that have proposed four-day school weeks. We’ve had districts that have proposed shorter school days,” Koch said.